The instrumental set reflects those behaviors described in the accompanying article as ‘denatured Machiavellianism.’ The political savvy embedded in the instrumental styles helps to diminish the sparks created by the friction among people and groups with different agendas. The three instrumental styles emphasize using one’s personal strengths to attract supporters, creating and working through social networks and alliances, and entrusting various aspects of one’s vision to others. Individuals who use themselves and others as instruments for accomplishing organizational goals prefer the instrumental styles.
People who prefer this style tend to use their personality, intelligence, wit, humor, charm, personal appearance, family background, and previous achievements as instruments for further success. Their charm usually convinces others to help in their task. They have a flair for public speaking, dramatic gestures, symbolism, timing, and costume, selecting just the right symbols and presentation of self to convey the core meaning and importance of their task. Their knack for making counter-intuitive, or unexpected, gestures takes both their supporters and opponents by surprise, often overriding others’ rational resistance and zeroing in on their emotions. People who prefer the Personal Instrumental Style are often perceived as charismatic because their personal charm and wit attract others to their cause. Usually, they are very persuasive, using well-honed negotiating and mediating skills to resolve conflicts.
People who prefer this style tend to accomplish things by involving other people whose special skills or experience are relevant to the task at hand. They like to do things through other people, and they always recognize the connections between people and tasks. They keep good mental notes about the specific talents, knowledge, and contacts of everyone they meet and easily link them to appropriate tasks. They have strong political and networking skills, which they call upon comfortably. They keep in touch with a large network of people, who feel remembered, liked, and ready to help them. They gladly put associates who need assistance in touch with just the right helper. They are more likely to pick up the telephone and call someone for information than to go to the library or database to dig it out for themselves. Their network is their database.
People who prefer this style tend to know how to make other people feel that they are counting on them. Their confidence in others makes those selected feel they can do the task, even if they have no specifically relevant experience. People who prefer the Entrusting Instrumental Style entrust their goals and tasks to others and believe that those others can accomplish the task as well as, or even better than, they can on their own. When they entrust a task to an associate, they generally expect that person to come through with minimal supervision. Their entrusting behavior usually has the effect of empowering those on whom they rely, although, at the outset, the people they select may quietly wish for more explicit directions and advice. Nonetheless, people who prefer this style excel at bringing out the best in others. In most cases, they simply expect everyone around them to help with their tasks. They engage in “leadership by expectation.” They are less concerned than the Social Instrumental achiever/leader with selecting just the right person for a specific task, because they believe that people will reach within themselves to live up to their high expectations.